This is Public Health – Staying Safe While Walking Outdoors

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, parents and caregivers are faced with additional challenges in keeping their children safe while staying socially distant.  One way to keep children active and engaged is to get outside and go for a walk.

This is Public Health is an awareness campaign brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Health Department.

Even though many outdoor track facilities are closed, walking outdoors in uncrowded spaces is still possible. Walking outside provides a welcome dose of fresh air and helps to prevent cabin fever.

Locally, officials have noticed an increase in pedestrian-related accidents. In fact, Tuscarawas County experienced a 114% increase in pedestrian-related accidents in 2019 compared to 2018.

Besides providing health benefits, walking is also a great time to connect with your children.  It is not only important for families to get out and but to also walk safely, officials with Safe Communities added. Here are some tips to use when planning a walk:

(Tuscarawas County Health Department Advertisement)
  • Plan your route. Try to find a route with low curbs, areas that are well lit, and spaces that have traffic lights with walk signals. Avoid high traffic areas.
  • Use sidewalks whenever possible. If no sidewalk is available, remember to walk facing traffic.
  • Make sure your shoes are sturdy with non-slip tread. Open-toed sandals or backless shoes can be a trip hazard.
  • Be sure to wear sunglasses or prescription glasses if required.
  • Stay alert and always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Always use a crosswalk when crossing the street. Look both ways before and during the crossing. Give yourself plenty of time, never rush to get through a light.
  • Watch for vehicles entering and exiting driveways.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing and avoid walking at night or during foggy times.
  • Dress properly for the weather and be sure to stay well hydrated.
  • Obey all traffic signals.
  • Maintain eye contact with drivers when entering a roadway. Don’t assume they see you. It is important to stay predictable and don’t make any sudden movements that could startle a driver.
  • Stay focused on what you are doing. Keep your head up and avoid distractions by not using cell phones and earbuds.
  • Maintain social distancing.

At the Tuscarawas County Health Department, the traffic safety program is called Safe Communities.  The goal of Safe Communities is to prevent traffic-related fatalities and injuries in Tuscarawas County by increasing traffic safety awareness.

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